To the untrained eye, I am considered a “veteran” homeschooler since I just entered my 15th year of doing it. However, any real homeschool Mom knows that you have never really “arrived” and there are always things you can learn–especially if you have more than one child! That being said, I have learned many things along the way, and would like to share 10 tips with you that help me stay sane, focus on my reason for homeschooling, not to give up, and to make sure I am training my children properly! OK, let me share some things that I have learned in my almost 15 years of homeschooling…
My 10 Homeschool Tips for Moms
1. Don’t Over Schedule. Yes, schedules and order are important. However, if you never allow room to deviate from plans, you may just lose your mind and suck the joy out of the process! Schedules should not be iron clad. There should always be room for fun, putting off one concept for another day (while focusing on one that needs to be reinforced), and anything else that helps the day/week/year go smoother. The point is to teach AND enjoy the gift of homeschooling your child(ren).
2. Repetition is Vital. Never assume that your child has mastered a concept just because YOU think they should have by now. Every child learns at their own pace and some learn certain subjects faster than other subjects. It is important to go over important topics on a regular basis. We spend about 15 minutes 3 times a week reviewing concepts.
3. Studying Should Never be Ignored. Keeping in step with tip #2, teaching your child to study will help them throughout all of their years of schooling. My children must study their math facts, new and harder to learn concepts daily (except Sunday). Study time is very important and if they spend 15-30 minutes each day doing it, I see a world of difference in their over all performance.
4. Stay Organized. An unorganized homeschooler is a stressed out homeschooler. You should know where everything is and all of your child(ren)’s completed work should be filed and dated. Filing will help you in so many ways, including, making it easier to see progress as needed, and it helps when college prep time comes and they ask for copies of certain work. More than that though, organization all around alleviates stress in your child(ren)…and YOU! Here is a recent article I wrote to help you get organized: 15 Homeschool Organizing Tips to Reduce Stress
5. Know Your Reason and Keep Your Eye on the Prize. This is probably one of the most important things I can tell you… Knowing your “why” will keep you from pulling your hair out, quitting and losing focus. You see, for me, there is NO other way. I will not allow a public school that does not even teach them about my King, to train my children up. I will not allow my child to spend 8 hours a day learning from kids their own age. I will not put my child in the hands of someone I do not know or trust. So, for me, homeschooling is the ONLY option. Keeping my focus on my “why,” gives me strength for each day and also prevents me from giving up. What’s your why?
6. Field Trips. These are valuable times for teaching and having fun on the journey. They also break the monotony. There are so many field trip ideas that homeschool parents can do with their kids–some cost money and many are free. A few ideas are; trip to the zoo, theme park, local industry plant, grocery store, park, beach, museum, science center, etc. After your trip, have your child write a report, draw a picture, make a collage, etc. This will help them to remember anything they learned, be creative, enjoy the learning process, and you will have something to remember the fun day with your child(ren) as well.
7. Read and Require Reading. Reading is very important, and good readers can only become good readers through practice. You should read to your child(ren), they should read out loud to you, and reading should be done for pleasure as well. Read, read, and read some more. It is also equally important to help them discuss what they read/hear as well. Book reports help this process. You can read from now until the cows come home, but if you do not comprehend what you are reading, it is a waste of time. Talk about what is being read. Help your child(ren) learn to see the big picture and understand what they are reading.
8. Teach Good Handwriting Habits. Nothing is worse than trying to read someone’s chicken scratch. My oldest used to call me the “Hitler of Handwriting.” LOL! It is a title I am quite proud of! I expect my children to write legibly, so that anyone can read their writing without feeling like they are trying to decipher some sort of secret code. When your child(ren) write neat, you will stress less in the grading process as well! It’s a win all around!
9. It’s Not All Academics. Yes, math, spelling, science, language arts, history, etc., are all important. However, I honestly believe that art, music, learning to sew/knit, hobbies, etc., are important as well. Make sure that there are enjoyable things to learn in your child(ren)’s day. I am not talking about forcing piano lessons either. Sure, if you want to teach them music, by all means, that’s awesome. What my point here is: make sure that they are learning at least one thing that they WANT to learn and will actually ENJOY!
10. God is Numero Uno. Last but most certainly NOT least… If God is not your center, you may find yourself dreaming of ways to run away from home most days. In all seriousness, God must be number one in your heart, mind and life. You need to spend time in prayer, and in His Word– seeking His Face throughout your day. It is also very important to have Bible time in your school day. Our children should not only see us pursuing an active spiritual life, they need to be taught how to read His Word, and about all the wonderful promises, lessons and Truths in His Word.
I hope these 10 tips are helpful to you, however, if you need a few more, here is another article I wrote awhile back: Homeschool Sanity Tips – Enjoy the Journey AND Stay SANE!
All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children. – Isaiah 54:13
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